Joaquin becomes a hurricane

Credit: NOAA

MIAMI (AP/WAVY) — Hurricane Joaquin has strengthened a little as it heads toward the central Bahamas.

Joaquin’s maximum sustained winds are 80 mph (129 kph). The storm is on a projected track to move near or over parts of the central Bahamas on Wednesday night and Thursday. The islands are bracing for tropical-storm-force winds, heavy rain and coastal flooding.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center long-term forecast showed the storm could near the U.S. East Coast above North Carolina early next week, but said it was too soon to say what areas would feel the effects of the storm.

Hurricane Guide on

Super Doppler 10 Meteorologist Jeremy Wheeler says while a direct hit on our area is not set in stone, it’s looking more likely, so you should start preparing just in case.  Get a hurricane kit ready… start gathering some food and water so you don’t have to scramble at the last-minute.  Also, start thinking about what you would do if you had to evacuate.  In this case, he said you may have to go pretty far inland.

Dare County officials announced that the Hatteras Island local emergency planning committee has scheduled an emergency meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday to discuss plans as Joaquin nears.

“Residents of the Carolinas north should be paying attention and monitoring the storm. There’s no question,” said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist with the center.

You can track the storm interactively here:

Copyright 2015 AP/WAVY. All rights reserved.

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